19 SES 02 B, Ethnographies of Pedagogic Innovation and Learning
- How do students construct participation structure of their interactions in one’s teamwork for a chemistry experiment?
- What roles do chemistry experiment equipment play in the participation structure?
Goffman(1981) claimed that there were some kinds of participation structures in people' interactions. The participation structure was a stable structure of mutual engagement and disengagement which provided the foundation to achieving cooperation and collaboration among copresent individuals(Jordan & Henderson,1995). Educational researchers found that there were many common participation structures in formal schools by micro-ethnography, such as teachers' lecture, one to one teacher-student question and answer and four-person panel discussion and so on. It is very significant to analyze these participation structures for understanding interactions in formal schools. Goodwin(1990) analyzed dialogue between teacher and student in a students' discussion and claimed that teacher would use linguistic means to animate one student for helping him taking part in the discussion. It showed us that copresent individuals usually took on one or more participant roles in constructing a whole participation structure to promote their interaction. We could explore how students learning by teamwork in depth when we analyze the actions of individual participants to build some roles and the relationships among these roles in a participation structure.
2.body and objects
Although we feel intuitively that the process of teaching and learning in the classroom is often conveyed by discourse, in fact, the human body is also involved in the learning process at all times. Nonverbal behaviors also contain information about cognitive activities. A chemistry experiment is a richly manipulated process. More than one person accomplishes an experiment which means that not only do each person has spontaneous actions, but there be also physical coordination or physical conflict among copresent individuals. Merleau-ponty put forward the concept of "Intercorporeité", indicating that a person's presence in this society means meeting with others, and human interaction is also physical interaction (nodding, shaking hands, eye contact) and body and language are equal which both are social in this sense . At the same time, the key of a chemistry experiment is the chemistry experiment equipment. Although the equipment itself can not move or talk, it carries abundant information about knowledge, scientific history, and teachers' arrangements. In a chemistry experiment, there is not only the interaction between students and students, but also a large number of the interaction between students and objects ——experiment equipment. It can be assumed that students are learning from experiment equipment by physical interaction.
Methodology The micro-ethnography of social interaction is a cross-cutting path taken by the interaction of anthropology and applied linguistics. This methodology focuses on exploring the process in which people jointly construct culture and practice through verbal and non-verbal communication in specific contexts. In education, one of the basic questions is: How do classroom structures and activities be organized into as what they present? So the interaction analysis based videos would grasp details of verbal and non-verbal communication among students, even between students and experiment equipment. Although learning is not visible, we can understand what happens in the interaction and how learning is happening by analyzing the student's actions and words. Sources used The video analyzed in this article was shot in a chemistry class form a third grader in a secondary school in Shanghai, China. There were a chemistry teacher (female) and 25 students in the class. Students sat around a table with a group of five ones. The lesson(video) continued 40 minutes. The students should study and compare the character of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide through experiments in the class. I selected the video clip which showed the first group of chemistry experiments about 3 minutes and transcribed it including what students said and what they did(body language).
Findings The participation structure in students' teamwork for a chemistry experiment is established through the coordination and cooperation of the body language among students which is mediated by experiment equipment which shows these participant roles "igniter", "stick holder", " Carbon dioxide producers " and "pipe holder". On the one hand, experiment equipment is an important intermediary that connects students' cooperative relationships. The interaction between students and equipment lays the foundations for participation structure of teamwork in a chemistry experiment. On the other hand, the experiment equipment represents the established experimental norms and the order of operation and relevant knowledge of chemistry. Under the experimental hypotheses given by teachers, the students who had different understanding of the experiment sequence spliced the whole collaboration. In this interaction, what we can see is more about the student's making sense with the concept related to experiment equipment rather than the deep chemistry-based interaction between student and student. The video and transcripts proved that the process of confirmatory chemistry experiment was the process in which students learned from experiment equipment and knowledge behind the equipment respectively. This kind of ‘learning by teamwork" is still traditional one-on-one learn from chemistry knowledge in fact. Students got knowledge from the outside in stead of generating new understanding about chemistry experiment by sharing prior knowledge and discussion from inside.
Goodwin, M. H. (1990). He-said-She-said: Talk as social organization among black children. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Brigitte Jordan, & Austin Henderson. (1995). Interaction analysis: foundations and practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(1), 39-103. O’connor,M.C.,&Michaels,S. (1996). Shifting participant frameworks: Orchestrating thinking practices in group discussion, D.Hicks(Ed.), Discourse, Learning, and Schooling. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 67-68.
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